A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Silence is Becoming Deafening.

A few weeks ago I reported that my local Conservative MP “will be declining to participate in any all-candidates meeting that follows the traditional format, one he says simply does not work. He says he would prefer a format where each candidate is given a few minutes for opening statements and then they go to a corner and take questions directly from voters.” This follows closely the mantra coming out of Con mouthpieces during the 2011 election where there was a very long list of Con candidates who refused to partake in all candidates meetings.
Here's what spokesman Ryan Sparrow wrote  in 2011 about the direction given to local candidates when it comes to all-candidates' forums:
We provide support for candidates to participate in candidates debates, but we don't instruct them not to attend debates. Most candidates would prefer to meet with voters one on one though instead of debating their opponents in crowds of committed supporters of the different parties. (I would have thought that the whole point of attending an all candidates meeting would be that you were NOT committed and wanted to hear alternative ideas and plans).
This time however it seems they are being instructed to avoid not only any public debate but also any interviews where their words may be quoted..............

Conservatives running in the federal election have been advised not to attend all-candidates’ meetings or speak to reporters during the campaign, a party source says.
A Conservative insider said Wednesday that most of Stephen Harper’s flag-bearers have “been told no debates and no media.”
The informal edict appears to affect Tory candidates across the country, which explains why so many press interviews are being rebuffed.
They’re getting pulled out of everything,” the source said, noting even some experienced cabinet ministers are being instructed to avoid candidates’ forums before the Oct. 19 election.

Andrew MacDougall, Harper’s director of communications from 2012 to 2013, said “The number one job of a candidate is to meet voters and identify votes,” Apparently forums where the party line can be challenged by knowledgeable opponents and where opinions and platforms can be shared with a wider audience is verboten but meeting individuals at the door where it is much easier to bury them in party line bullshit is OK.
During the time I have lived in this rural riding (through two previous federal elections and several provincial elections) I have not once seen ANY candidate at my door, without public debates, the reporting thereof, and press interviews of the candidates, I may as well pull a name out of my hat. No candidate can personally visit every household in his riding and to suggest that this should be the ONLY way for a candidate to make his views known to the voters is patently ridiculous. There is only one reason for this edict and that is the Conservative record of destroying our democratic institutions, massive cutbacks to social programs, science, environmental protections etc etc simply cannot be defended and the pre-programmed lines dictated from above start to sound as meaningless as they actually are when repeated in the press time and time again.
The only real question is why these supposedly intelligent Con candidates obey the word of their master, have they all been lobotomized?

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
Abraham Lincoln

And if you want to see how vindictive and petty the HarperCons can be see this https://youtu.be/Ei50lM6ab1c then this Cons suspend writer of Harperman song

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Unknown said...

Harpers choreographed campaign Rural, is really something to watch, that is when you have the stomach for it. His tight fisted control over the CON candidates is carried over in an election and of course they all obey. The MSM for the most part is giving him a pass once again.The accidental PM is digging his heals in and is refusing to leave. His behaviour is the same in election campaigning as it is in his governing, bullying, secrecy, lying, controlling,
incompetency, pursuing power, contemptuos of Canadians. The sheer arrogance of his behaviour I find breath taking. Canadians will have no excuse this time if Harper get's another majority. Even though he very much tries to control the message in his campaign, his sleazy behaviour is out there for all to see. He is like the tin pot leaders such as Mugabee, whose citizens can't stand, but he finds a way to rig the elections and stays in power for years.After hopefully, we throw him out, the whole country will need to take a shower.

Rural said...

Indeed Pamela, his arrogance .... and disdain for public discourse is not only 'breath taking' but a clear sign that he has no regard for democratic conventions and will do anything (including withholding his true intentions) to retain power. The sad part is no only do the Con candidates go along with it but now we see other 'leaders' playing much the same game. I fear that the rot is now so deeply ingrained that even with a change in 'leadership' (and I use that term very loosely) little will change!

Unknown said...

I think Rural, Mulcair will fit comfortably into Harpers dictator shoes. As to Trudeau, the betrayal of a son whose father was instrumental in creating The Charter of Rights and Freedom, which for the first time included human rights in the Canadian constitution would be too astounding to contemplate, so I'll hold out on that judgement. We'll see soon enough in October if Trudeau is elected. If you are right, then we are truly doomed!

Rural said...

The more I see the more I agree with your assessment on the NDP leader, Pamela. I still would like to see a minority / coalition government BUT would they cooperate for the good of the country....seems improbable at this point. Sigh......

Owen Gray said...

We are dealing with a man who brooks no challengers -- outside or inside his party, Rural. Not exactly a Profile in Courage.

Rural said...

Nor one that instills confidence and trust, Owen